A legal blog with a unique point of view written and Published by The Law Offices of James F. Aspell, P.C.. We are a full-service firm in suburban Hartford, Connecticut practicing with a special emphasis on worker's compensation and personal injury law. We pride ourselves on personal attention to your matter giving you small firm attention but big firm results.
Norm's article struck me on so many levels. I paste it below verbatim for your reading.
Unsettling Phone Call From Panicky Client
By NORM PATTIS
I admire those lawyers who give out telephone numbers at which they can be reached both day and night. Me, I am unavailable after 7 p.m. There are no exceptions. This is a punishing way to make a living. Come sundown, I want to curl up with a good book, and then get some sleep.
So I was stunned the other night when my cell phone rang at the ungodly hour of 9 p.m. I worried that one of our three children was in trouble. I knew my wife wasn't calling; she lay beside me.
“Who could that be?" I asked, fumbling for the phone. Just a few weeks earlier, I had changed my cell phone number. Too many people had it. And too many were calling at all hours asking questions that demanded, in their view, immediate answers.
I knew this caller. She is a recent immigrant to the United States, just naturalized as a citizen. She and her husband are good people. They work hard, and hope sometime soon to start a family of their own.
She was frantic. The police had been to their home, a note from her husband said. He went to the station to talk to them. When she called the police station, officers said her husband was busy and could not talk. This had trouble written all over it.
I placed a call to the detective bureau.
“Yeah, he's here,” a surly sounding voice grumbled.
“I am his lawyer, and I want to talk to him.”
“He's busy right now. I'll pass that along,” the voice said.
“No,” I told him, “you'll do more than that. You will stop interviewing him now.” My wife put down the thriller she was reading, and was looking at me. This was real life. No need to turn a page to watch this.
I'm not sure what the cop said next, but I recall some bluster of mine that went like this: “It's now 9:10. The interview is over. If I find out it continued, I'll be wearing your badge next Halloween. Got it?”
A half hour later I still had not heard from the husband. I called the station back. A sergeant got on the phone. He apologized for Officer Charm, and I reciprocated: We both copped attitudes, I said.
The husband was to be charged with sexual assault on a minor. A warrant was about to be served. An interview had stopped an hour or so before I called. I wondered what pretext they used to hold the husband as the warrant was sought.
Not long afterward, he was arrested. His bond set at $150,000.
His wife went to pieces on the phone. At 10 p.m. I hear shrieks and sobbing. “What am I going to do? Help me, please help me.” I try to explain what a bond is, but I am not getting through. And then words that strike me like ice water. “But they are torturing him, I know it. You have to get him out of there.”
I am cynical about law enforcement. It is a product of 15 years litigating police misconduct cases. But the days of the rubber hose are long since past. I am not at all worried about this man's will being broken by violence.
But she is from South America. I try to imagine what assumptions she brings to a late-night detention at the police station. She wants to go to the station herself, to make her presence known, to be a witness against the state should they do violence to her man. I marvel at this response. Somehow, were my wife told in the dead of night I had been arrested for sexually assaulting a minor, I suspect I might need a jailer's bars for protection.
I had trouble getting to sleep. I know all the challenges this young family now faces. And I cannot shake the sound of desperate sobbing. When sleep comes, I am grateful for the measure of peace my wife and I share. It is fragile.
Norm Pattis is a criminal defense lawyer and civil rights attorney in Bethany.
MEMORANDUM NO. 2008-03
|TO:||Commissioners, District Administrators, Self-Insureds, Insurance Carriers, Attorneys, Unions, Legal Advisory Panel and Advisory Board Members|
|FROM:||John A. Mastropietro, Chairman|
|DATE:||September 17, 2008|
|RE:||Electronic Filing of First Reports of Injury Mandated|
Effective January 1, 2009 the Workers' Compensation Commission is instituting a policy that all First Reports of Injury filed pursuant to § 31-316 must be transmitted electronically to the Chairman's Office.
Prior to the effective date of the above policy, the Workers' Compensation Commission has accepted both electronic and hard copy submissions of First Reports of Injury. However, recognizing that business communications are now largely accomplished through electronic transfers, the Workers' Compensation Commission is mandating that First Reports of Injury be filed electronically with the Chairman's office. We believe this step will help reduce costs and will expedite the forwarding of information that may be necessary for claims processing. This will also allow us to better meet the mandate of Public Act 08-03, the new statute requiring notification of claim filing information.
Access to web based filing is an available alternative for low volume submitters.
In the event you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact this office.
MEMORANDUM NO. 2008-05
|TO:||Commissioners, District Administrators, Workers' Compensation Advisory Board, Legal Advisory Panel, Medical Advisory Panel, Medical Practitioners, Self-Insureds, Insurance Carriers, Attorneys, and Unions|
|FROM:||John A. Mastropietro, Chairman|
|DATE:||September 17, 2008|
|RE:||REVISED Professional Guide for Attorneys, Physicians and Other Health Care Practitioners; Guidelines for Cooperation|
By memorandum dated September 27, 2002, the Workers' Compensation Commission adopted and issued the Professional Guide for Attorneys, Physicians and Other Health Care Practitioners; Guidelines for Cooperation.
The following revisions to the guidelines are effective October 1, 2008:
THESE ARE COSTS THAT YOUR LAWYER INCURS IN REPRESENTING YOU IN A WC CASE. IT IS REASONABLE TO ASSUME THESE INCREASED COSTS WILL BE PASSED ON TO THE CLIENTS.
For your convenience, copies may be downloaded from (the Connecticut WCC) website at:
A New York appellate court denied a worker's motion to amend her complaint against her employer who allegedly videotaped her as she changed into her uniform, because workers' compensation exclusive remedy would preclude her from alleging negligent infliction of emotional distress against her employer.
A recent law graduate wrote to the Washington Post about a frustrating and unsuccessful search for a first job.
"I'm growing desperate,” the job seeker wrote. “I've sent out 330 résumés to the Hill, feds, nonprofits, trade associations, campaigns and law firms. I've even applied for bartending and waiting tables, only to be told I'm overqualified. What do I do?”
Career Tracks columnist Mary Ellen Slayter suggested the law grad needs to “think quality, not quantity” and focus on networking through professional associations or a school alumni group.
“Completing a single federal job application can take a full week, so I have a hard time believing you're putting the right level of effort behind pursuing jobs at carefully selected employers,” Slayter said.
Above the Law posted the exchange and offered its own comments, saying it wasn’t terribly impressed by Slayter’s advice. On the other hand, the blog said, it can’t think of better suggestions in what is shaping up to be a “grim” job market.
Some of the blog’s readers suggested seeking a contract job doing document review, applying for jobs in other geographic areas, and volunteering to work for a judge.
Our odd news story of the week comes from San Francisco where the Chronicle reported that a landlord, angered over losing an eviction case against his tenant: cut the support beam under the house hired workers to cut a hole in the living room floor from underneath the house, and cut the tenant's electric and phone lines. Needless to say, the landlord has been charged with a number of crimes.
The crash was reported at 4:48 a.m. on Route 6 near Burnap Brook Road. Balula was driving east when he veered off the right side of the road and crashed, Trooper Paul Arigno wrote in an accident report.
Troopers from the Colchester barracks were investigating, and had not publicly commented on any possible cause for the crash.
Here is the list of questions your trustee is required to ask you and a list of sample questions your trustee may ask you depending on the facts of your case. The hearing is not a test nor an inquisition, it is a fact finding meeting. according to fellow blogger Cathy Moran. If you have any questions about answering any of these questions, you should discuss them with your attorney prior to your 341 hearing. QUESTIONS THE TRUSTEE IS REQUIRED TO ASK YOU AT YOUR BANKRUPTCY HEARING (341(a) MEETING OF CREDITORS)
1. State your name and current address for the record.
2. Please provide your picture ID and Social Security number card for review.
3. Did you sign the petition, schedules, statements, and related documents and is the signature your own? Did you read the petition, schedules, statements, and related documents before you signed them?
4. Are you personally familiar with the information contained in the petition, schedules, statements and related documents? To the best of your knowledge, is the information contained in the petition, schedules, statements, and related documents true and correct? Are there any errors or omissions to bring to my attention at this time?
5. Are all of your assets identified on the schedules? Have you listed all of your creditors on the schedules?
6. Have you previously filed bankruptcy? (provide trustee with case number and the discharge information to determine discharge eligibility in this case)
7. What is the address of your current employer?
8. Is the copy of the tax return you provided a true copy of the most recent tax return you filed?
9. Do you have a domestic support obligation? To whom? Please provide the claimant’s address and telephone number, but do not state it on the record. Are you current on your post-petition domestic support obligations?
10. Have you filed all required tax returns for the past four years?
SAMPLE QUESTIONS THE TRUSTEE MAY ASK YOU
1. Do you own or have any interest whatsoever in any real estate? If owned: When did you purchase the property? How much did the property cost? What are the mortgages encumbering it? What do you estimate the present value ofthe property to be? Is that the whole value or your share? How did you arrive at that value? If renting: Have you ever owned the property in which you live and/or is its owner in any way related to you?
2. Have you made any transfers of any property or given any property away within the last one year period (or such longer period as applicable under state law)? If yes: What did you transfer? To whom was it transferred? What did you receive in exchange? What did you do with the funds?
3. Does anyone hold property belonging to you? If yes: Who holds the property and what is it? What is its value?
4. Do you have a claim against anyone or any business? If there are large medical debts, are the medical bills from injury? Are you the plaintiff in any lawsuit? What is the status of each case and who is representing you?
5. Are you entitled to life insurance proceeds or an inheritance as a result of someone’s death? If yes: PIease explain the detaiI s. If you become a beneficiary of any one’s estate within six months of the date your bankruptcy petition was filed, the trustee must be advised within ten days through your counsel of the nature and extent of the property you will receive. FRBP 1007(h)
6. Does anyone owe you money? If yes: Is the money collectible? Why haven’t you collected it? Who owes the money and where are they?
7. Have you made any large payments, over $600, to anyone in the past year?
8. Were federal income tax returns filed on a timely basis? When was the last return filed? Do you have copies ofthe federal income tax returns? At the time of the filing of your petition, were you entitled to a tax refund from the federal or state government ? If yes: Inquire as to amounts.
9. Do you have a bank account, either checking or savings? If yes: In what banks and what were the balances as of the date you filed your petition?
10. When you filed your petition, did you have:
a. any cash on hand?
b. any U.S. savings bonds?
c. any other stocks or bonds?
d. any certificates of deposit?
e. a safe deposit box in your name or in anyone else’s name?
11. Do you own an automobile? If yes: What is the year, make, and value? Do you owe any money on it? Is it insured?
12. Are you the owner of any cash value life insurance policies? If yes: State the name ofthe company, face amount of the policy, cash surrender value, if any, and the beneficiaries.
13. Do you have any winning lottery tickets?
14. Do you anticipate that you might realize any property, cash or otherwise, as a result of a divorce or separation proceeding?
"That's totally unfair!" he protests to the Devil. "I have to burin in Hell for all eternity, and that lawyer gets to spend it with a beautiful woman!"
"Silence!" barks the Devil, jabbing with his pitchform. "Who are you to question that woman's punishment?!"